maths study via The Open University

Archive for February, 2012

Beer

“Hi mate, long time no speak. Fancy a beer?”

So came the call from a good acquaintance I’ve not seen for 12 months.

I had nothing planned but still said “no”.

Why?

Because I wanted to study instead.

Because I like doing it.

Saturday evening spent battering some calculus around a page.

Is that bad?

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M347 (mathematical statistics) – TMA1 about done

It’s short – only three questions.

It’s done but I’m having a think about one line in the algebra – something is implicit from the notes but not strictly addressed (though it is in M343) (er, it is there, I just glossed over it – apologies M347) and I’m just wondering whether to rattle off a proof, or ask my tutor if I can move from one line to the other safely.

Next up are a CMA for M343 and two iCMAs for M347.

While it’s still early days for both courses, I’ll make a few thoughts public while I’m posting.

Now that I’m progressing past the prerequisite basics, which were rattled through at some pace, and am some way into the stuff which needs explaining more deeply, I will say that I honestly think both courses are brilliantly written. Not well written, but seriously excellently written (M343 has been rewritten for this year – I have secondhand books from the previous years too, and there is a big improvement for 2012).

They’re both extremely accessible and reasonably concise with little filler. A willingness to think for a bit about what various statistical functions do, how various distributions are related to one another, and a good general grasp of calculus seems to be all I’ve needed so far.

M343’s first TMA questions seem close to examples given in the books although a fair bit of individual thought is required.
M347’s first TMA questions are a bit more unique, but quite doable.

Yes, they’ll both get harder, probably much harder. But, for now, the pace is very fair.

On a slightly different note, the number of subscribers and visits to this blog has grown greatly, with 90% of the search terms being in some way connected with MST209.

If you’re from the current course cohort, or are intending to take it in the future, please feel free to comment. And check the blogs on the RHS too – there’s some great information in them.

I’ll try to make a post which actually addresses the topics covered so far in M343 and M347 shortly and perhaps look at a few of the trickier proofs if I can still remember how to LaTeX. There are a couple of things which pop out by implication, which can be put to good use. One thing to note, however, is that the Poisson distribution and Poisson processes, and all (most?), of their variants gets absolutely hammered in M343, both as time and space-based entities. And it’s very very entertaining.

One last thing: this year, I’ve been making my own notes as I progress through the materials. I have two lever arch folders on the go. The M347 folder has about 25 densely-written pages in it at this point, with a shedload of calculus-based proofs the exercises make you do. The M343 folder has 52 loosely-written pages with lots of my own explanations of what’s going on, rather than maths.

I keep relating everything back to very simple examples so I don’t get lost as the pace is certainly swift.


M343 (applications of probability) – TMA 1 about done

No surprises in this one, just lots of probability.
It should be in the post later this week when I head to the shops.
That gives me the next month to concentrate on M347 in advance of its first TMA.
Happy days.